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Fantasy Football & Work & Time Wasted (Part 1)
Sometimes A Fantasy Is All You Need

Posted by Charlie Recksieck on 2020-05-07
We all know that Fantasy Football is huge. And almost all of us have people in our lives on Monday telling us their tale of woe from their fantasy "battle" where all they needed was for Stefon Diggs to get 20 receiving yards in the late game but his 4th quarter fumble cost him the "win." Yes, it's insufferable. There's not many narratives you want to hear less at the water cooler than hearing about each hole on a round of golf, fantasy football sagas, stories of bad poker beats and chronicles of children’s soccer games.

Is This A Problem?

But what's the impact of Fantasy Football on society or as a business. Well, fantasy sports as a whole is a $7 billion a year industry. It's well covered here in this article. Money spent on fantasy sports is only part of the measure of it's impact; the time spent on it is just as significant.

According to Kimble Applications (all data sources are cited at bottom of this post), "Over a third (37 percent) of U.S. employees say they've participated in fantasy sports competitions during work hours." In a study cited by HR Bartender, "Almost 75 million Americans play fantasy football and, of those, 97 percent admit to spending work time on their teams."

If you're an executive, manager or IT professional, you should do the math. Take the number of people playing fantasy football in your office, multiply that times the average amount of hours at work they spend researching football and their teams (maybe about 3 hours) and multiply that times your hourly cost for that employee (salary/hr. but also benefits, etc.) and you have the amount that it's costing your business. Do that same math across the country with conservative numbers: 20 million employees playing at work * 3 hours on average of work time on fantasy football * their hourly wage (let's go low with $25) and times 17 weeks of the season and you have a U.S. work loss of $25.5 billion.

Of course, fantasy football is not the only time-waster in the workplace that managers should be concerned about. In a "Wasting Time at Work" survey, workers "22% waste approximately 2 hours daily, and 14% waste 3 or more hours each workday" and of that 48% of respondents waste time on "internet use", 33% on socializing with co-workers, 30% on conducting personal business, 19% on personal phone calls, 15% on long lunches. (If interested in further reading, here's a good demographic breakdown of time wasters.

Every business and IT department has to decide how much to monitor and avoid being Big Brother. Additionally, there are legal issues on how much you can monitor. Lots of employers block certain sites (I'm never going to criticize a company for blocking Facebook!). Some use monitoring software like Time Doctor, Teramind, ActivTrak or many others. In the late 90's my aunt increased proactivity at her County government agency by 2 hours a week simply by removing Minesweeper from all computers. (If you don't remember Minesweeper, ask your parents.)

(Click here to read Part 2 with more positive aspects of workplace fantasy football.)